It took just three minutes for me to realize the next three hours were going to be extremely painful.
Only 180 seconds after saying hello, he started telling me how his classic “theventy-theven” car broke down on his way to the date.
Theventy-theven? Oh! Seventy-Seven! Oh, crap.
That’s right, ladies and gents: My date had a lisp. A bad one. And it was not long after that that I realized I was on a date with a grown-up version of Paul Smart, the geekiest kid in my fifth grade class. Touche, karma; ya got me.
He was a nice enough guy, but he was a through-and-through nerd—and this is coming from me, and I usually like nerdy guys! Realizing there was nothing I could do to cure him of his speech impediment or science club sensibilities, I accepted the fact that my Friday night date was doomed for pocket-protector-induced failure. I guess I could have faked sick, or pretended to have to run off to some sort of emergency, but I didn’t think that would be fair. He just drove 2.5 hours, from his home in rural Nevada to Las Vegas, to go on this silly date; the least I could do was show up. And I was already an hour late when I arrived, thanks to a crazy day at the office. Whoops.
We met at the lobby bar at Mandalay Bay and ordered a round of drinks. As he told me about his theventy-theven classic, his ongoing family drama (Note: “My dad lives in a trailer” isn’t sexy) and ongoing tensions at work, I back my cocktail, wishing it was a double.
From there, we went to the Shark Reef Aquarium, which was kinda cool, I guess, but not the sort of thing that I’d recommend to anyone over the age of, oh, 10-years-old. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to explore the entire thing—30 minutes from start to finish, maybe—so we were done before we knew it.
I checked my watch and realized, crap! we still had a ton of time before I’d have to go. (Since he was making a special trip to Vegas to go on this date, I told him I had a work function to be at at 9 p.m., so he wouldn’t get any ideas about an all-nighter (or, worse yet, one-nighter) in Vegas.
As we left the Shark Reef ahead of schedule, I silently thanked the tardy gods who made me an hour late—had I been on time, things really would have been painful. We went to Lupo for dinner, which was fine. I had an appetizer-sized salad with a side of ricotta gnocchi; he had house-made thick-cut noodles and sauce. I ordered a glass of cabernet; he ordered “something red.” The waiter brought two of the same. While we picked at our food, he told me about his time abroad as an intern in Italy, and his plans for the rest of the summer. I checked my Blackberry a lot, and texted my ex to tell him that I miss him. (With every date I go on, I miss him more; it’s super annoying.) I looked at the time—it was 7:38 p.m.
At one point, my date sat with his noodle-filled fork in the air for a good five minutes, too busy telling me a story (which I can’t remember, which indicates just how riveting it really was) to eat it. I wanted to scarf my food and run, but managed to find both patience and restraint, and paced myself accordingly. (I think my good Samaritan medal is in the mail, as is my one-way ticket to Hell.)
We eventually finished our food and our wine, the table was cleared, and the check came… and nothing happened. He just kept talking and talking and talking some more.
At that point, I realized that he had nothing else to do that night—he was going to be alone in Las Vegas, with no one to hang out with or entertain him. Again, I figured the least I could do was listen to his stories and pretend to be mildly interested in what he had to say for another hour or so, which I did. Then, with the check still sitting on the table at 8:30 p.m., I told him I had to go to the restroom. I excused myself from the table and scurried across the fake cobblestone walkway to freedom, a.k.a. the loo.
Bathroom breaks are like coffee breaks for weary daters. They give us a chance to relax, check our personal e-mail, and decompress from the rat race. And like coffee breaks, they never seem to be long enough.
When I returned from my mini getaway, my date was waiting outside the restaurant.
Thank god! We can go!
He said he noticed the time, and he didn’t want to make me late. (I told you he was nice!)
So without further ado, he walked me to my car, I said my thank-yous and have-a-good-nights, and that was that. I gave him what I like to call “the hug of death” (you don’t hug a date goodbye unless you never want to see him again!), then got into my car and drove away, knowing I’ll never see him again.
He texted me later that night; I didn’t text back. He e-mailed the next day, I didn’t respond. He texted again on Sunday, and I finally replied, saying I had been really busy since we had last seen each other. He texted something back, but I ignored it. Now that it’s all said and done, I’m left wondering if I should have done things differently. Was it right for me to go through with the date, even though my heart wasn’t in it and I knew it would go nowhere? Or should I have called the whole thing off as soon as I realized we weren’t a good match, and therefore spared him the time and expense of a doomed date that he didn’t realize was destined to fail?
Originally, I thought what I did—going through with it—was the right thing to do (again, especially considering he made a 5-hour round-trip drive to do it), but now I’m thinking that maybe I should have just smiled and told him that while he seemed nice, it was clear to me that it just wasn’t going to work.
What do you think? E-mail me, or leave a comment below.